Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip (vegan, gluten-free)

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip (vegan, gluten-free)

I am having a lot of fun making different dishes and snacks dairy-free. For the most part, as with my gluten-free or even vegan cooking, I have just been cooking around it, enjoying things that are naturally such, I don’t usually make tons of substitutions with weird processed things like fake cheeses or fake meats, etc. Even though I think that some dairy-free cheeses (like Daiya) might be nice for the occasional special treat if I really feel like I am missing out or want some cheese, I usually just get really creeped out by how much weird stuff are those types of foods. Many times you read the package and you don’t even know what the ingredients are, you can’t pronounce them, etc.

I was craving a delicious Italian-style pasta dish the other night, so I made gluten-free penne with a creamy roasted tomato and basil sauce. No cheese or dairy! The creaminess came from soaked cashews and I added in a little nutritional yeast for the nutty/cheesy flavor it brings. It was so perfectly delicious and it really hit the spot. I didn’t miss the dairy one bit. There is always the option of using nut milks instead of dairy milk in recipes, which I have been doing for a long time when making, but it doesn’t always give you that super creamy cheese-like texture when cooking, so that is where raw nuts have been coming in handy for me.

I did some serious cooking, baking and making over this weekend. I made my first ever batch of Kombucha, which I cannot wait to try, I love that stuff. I also made gluten-free, dairy-free refined sugar-free chocolate donuts for breakfast yesterday in my new donut pan (recipe coming soon) and all of my Super Bowl treats. We watched the Super Bowl last night at my parents’ with my family and some friends, so I decided to experiment a little with my Super Bowl snacks, making things that not only I would eat, but that would still appeal to everyone else. So, I made three different things: this creamy spinach dip, a creamy eggplant and roasted red pepper dip and Thai Meatballs (made from some grass-fed beef from our local farmer) with a red curry peanut sauce. I will be posting the eggplant dip likely tomorrow so look for that. As for the meatballs, I basically just altered this recipe to be gluten-free and I used some of our lean grass-fed ground beef from the half cow that we shared with my parents. I was really excited to find a meatball recipe that wouldn’t need any cheese of some sort, since I was initially playing with the idea of making regular Italian style meatballs. They were so delicious! I really recommend that recipe.

I served the two dips with tons of fresh cut raw veggies, regular whole grain crackers and some Mary’s Gone Crackers Black Pepper Crackers for me. Both the dips were enjoyed by everyone and the meatballs FLEW off the plate. This particular dip is so creamy, you would swear it had ricotta cheese in it. It has a nice flavor from the garlic and the nutritional yeast brings an almost “cheesy” taste. Nutritional yeast is low in sodium and it is one of the few non-animal sources of B-12, it is rich in folic acid and many other nutrients and amino acids. This is not your typical yeast and is free of the Candida Albicans strain, making it safe for those concerned with candida. Per ounce nutritional yeast packs in 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber.

I’ll be honest, I did a lot more gabbing and snack-eating then football watching last night. We did manage to keep quiet through the half-time show, which I thought was just so-so. I love old-school Madonna and was excited to hear some of the old hits but that is about it. I was a bit let down, it didn’t do it for me. Though I did make it a point to listen to all of her old albums today on Spotify to make up for it!

Did you watch the Super Bowl? What did you think of the half-time show? What foods did you make or eat?

Creamy Dairy-Free Spinach Dip (vegan, gluten-free)


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emer February 10, 2012 at 6:53 am

Hi, what is nutritional yeast? I’ve never heard of it. Thanks, Emer


2 Michelle @ The Willing Cook February 11, 2012 at 11:31 am

I saw another recipe this week that uses soaked cashews and nutritional yeast as the base to what is traditionally dairy. I think that means that I need to try it out soon myself. Thanks for sharing this recipe also at Allergy-Free Wednesdays!
Have a great weekend!


3 Sara @ real fun food February 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I’m so glad to have found this on foodgawker! I seriously can’t wait to try it. I’ve been looking for good food blogs to incorporate more vegan cooking into my diet. Thanks!


4 Paula Macdonald March 26, 2012 at 6:10 am

Your recipe for spinach dip sounds like a lovely alternative without the digestion problems. My mothers best friend from Italy was a chef, and her lasagna was out of this world delicious. She cut costs by not adding mozzarella cheeze inside the layers of her lasagna, but making a cream sauce and adding a little nutmeg, providing a mozzarella flavour. Now all I need to do is re-create it gluten and dairy free. A challenge that I look forward to. Using family members as guinea pigs for my new creations is great as my children are brutally honest with a comparable palate to gluten.


5 sara @ real fun food March 29, 2012 at 6:04 am

I have recently discovered the trick of using cashews in “creamy” things like this and am loving it. I made an artichoke and spinach dip recently that used cashews and it was gorgeous. I love the bright, healthy color of your spinach dip!


6 Becca C July 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Hmm, I wonder if seeds would work in place of the nuts. This sounds yum!


7 tastyyummies July 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Becca – I bet they might, I am not sure if it will be as creamy as the cashews, but I bet it would still be delicious. Eggplant also makes a very creamy base for dips, too. Please let me know how it works whatever you try!


8 Lora July 19, 2012 at 7:47 am

I just found your website and I am so excited to try some of your recipes. In this recipe you mention a penne with creamy roasted tomato and basil recipe, but I cannot find it on your website. It sounds delicious! Do you have that recipe posted somewhere?


9 tastyyummies July 19, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Hi Lora, thanks so much for commenting! I am so glad you found me. Ahh, I am so glad you reminded me about the creamy roasted tomato sauce, I never posted that recipe. Looks like I need to make it asap, so I can share it. Thanks again.


10 Kim May 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

This is fabulous! After looking at many recipes using it, this is my first time using soaked raw cashews. I found I needed to add a bit more sea salt for our taste. I’m thinking next time I’ll also add some chopped artichoke hearts. I’ve been dairy-free for four months now, and this really mimics a creamy dip for me. Thanks for such a great recipe!


11 Angela November 12, 2013 at 9:09 pm

We ate this with homemade tortillas tonight for dinner and loved it! It’s like regular spinach dip except you don’t hate yourself afterwards. I’m not loving the lingering aftertaste of all that spinach, but that’s probably just because we ate SO MUCH of it! Thanks for the recipe.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: